Keith Ellison

Recent Articles

Congressional candidates’ radio debate ends in name-calling

 
Fifth-District rivals differ on debating vs. door-knocking
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

With two weeks remaining before Election Day, have the voters in the Fifth District congressional campaign received enough information from the two main candidates to make an informed choice? In addition to many other disagreements, the two candidates do not agree on this either. An October 18 debate aired on KFAI Radio between three-term Democrat incumbent Keith Ellison and Republican challenger Chris Fields, which station staff described as “a spirited and feisty” exchange, turned about halfway through into a brief name-calling exchange between the two men. “I acted beneath my personal standard as a public official, and I apologize,” said Congressman Ellison in a subsequent released statement. Continue Reading →

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Funding cuts decrease access to books for 21,217 MN children

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Children’s literacy programs, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are too often overlooked. However as school began this week, such programs as Reading is Fundamental (RIF) are operating without federal funding because Congress slashed it as part of a short-term budget deal earlier this year to buy time for lawmakers to pass a budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Since 1966, the RIF program have given out over 400 million books to needy children for free — nearly 90 percent of its annual budget is used to purchase books and support local RIF sites, notes the program’s website. It also sponsor multicultural literacy programs, including over 700 multicultural book collections, early childhood literacy trainings and public education outreach by airing public service announcements on Black and Native American radio stations. RIF’s entire federal budget — $24.8 million — was cut. Continue Reading →

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Ellison on taxes, Affirmative Action, gay marriage and reelection

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), up for reelection this November, has represented Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District since 2007 and is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 112th Congress. He is, it goes without saying, a household name in the Twin Cities, having established before entering politics a high-profile career as a North Minneapolis-based attorney and activist for civil rights as well as environmental protection. In November 2002, Ellison was elected to his first public office as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives serving House District 58B. At the time he took his seat, his party was the smallest House minority in Minnesota history. During this session, Ellison was appointed to the Governmental Operations & Veterans Affairs Policy Committee, the Judiciary Policy & Finance Committee, and the Local Government & Metropolitan Affairs Committee. Continue Reading →

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Cash flood drowning out voice of the people

 

 
Join the movement to get money out of politics
 

By Rep. Keith Ellison

Guest Commentator

 

In a recall election a couple of weeks ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker kept his job, but with a high price tag. In a state of only six million people, $60 million was poured into the race, $50 million of which went to Governor Walker. And almost half of that was spent by outside groups — most of them not based in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin was not an isolated event. Since 2010, Super PACs and corporations have spent record amounts of money in elections nationwide. Continue Reading →

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‘Long overdue’ Black museum dedicated

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Roxanne Givens’ dream of a Black museum finally became a reality as the Minnesota African American Museum (MAAM) was formally dedicated last weekend. Those present for the ceremony agreed they were sharing a momentous occasion. “When Roxanne had the epiphany, I was just as excited as she was,” says Judie Carmichael Brown of the museum’s founder and acting director. Brown, herself a founding board member and public relations chair, told the MSR that an estimated 200 persons attended last Friday’s three-hour event at the former Coe mansion, which the museum board acquired in 2008, located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 18th Street South. Master of ceremonies T. Mychael Rambo called the event the “Who’s Who of everybody,” including as it did local and national politicians, business leaders and community folk. Continue Reading →

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GOP fields challenger in 5th District

 

 

Chris Fields says he unites, Ellison divides
 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Keith Ellison, the charismatic and hugely popular congressional representative of Minnesota’s Fifth District, is confronted by a credible challenger in Chris Fields, who in April got the Republican Party nomination with upwards of 75 percent of the vote on the first ballot.  Which is interesting, considering Fields is a political rookie. He made a good impression to say the least, and states on his behalf, “My time as a United States Marine gives me [strong] experience in federal government. Since I haven’t had a long career in politics, I don’t owe anyone, especially special interests groups, anything.”

His assertion is that he stands as an authentically independent voice, one who sides “with the people of this district. Minnesotans want a representative who [shares] their experiences and possesses the leadership skills.”

Raised in South Bronx, N.Y. and going on to Bronx Regional High School, which he left as valedictorian, Chris Fields eventually enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. “I finished College Park University, graduating magna cum laude. Experience gives me [an informed] view of challenges facing the world.”

Fields adds, “Having survived a tough inner-city upbringing, I have certainly shared many of the struggles people in our district experience today. My 21-year career as United States Marine [gives] me real experience with the federal government and a first-hand look at what works and doesn’t work in government. Continue Reading →

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Healthcare reform law now two years old — Supporters say Affordable Care Act will narrow health disparities

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March celebrated its two-year anniversary since President Barack Obama signed it into law. Since it became law, its key provisions include insurance companies now being more accountable in their practices, providing new coverage for young adults, making prescription drugs affordable for seniors, and covering preventive services with no deductible or copay. The healthcare law now prohibits insurance companies from refusing to insure children under age 19 with serious illnesses or limiting care because an individual’s expenses have reached a dollar limit imposed by their insurance company. “A whole new set of rules for insurance companies — a new ball game,” says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebellius during a March 23 visit to the Twin Cities to commemorate the ACA’s second anniversary. Sebellius, U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton all heard stories from several women on how the ACA has helped them at the home of a nurse who lives in Spring Lake Park. Continue Reading →

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Black votes on the line with Voter ID

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer 

 

A year after the 2008 presidential election, calls for new voter identification laws were heard in many states, including Minnesota. Led by a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) composed mostly of Republicans, proponents claim that such a law is needed because there is “rampant voter fraud.”

ALEC’s public safety and elections task force drafted the Voter ID Act in the summer of 2009, which would require “proof of identity” to vote. Those without a valid photo ID must fill out a provisional ballot that is only counted if the voter produces an ID by the Monday following the election. It also suggests that ID cards be made available free of charge to eligible voters without a valid driver’s license. ALEC is a Republican-favored organization that is promoting “its right-wing agenda” in all 50 states, says Color of Change.org, a national activist group that has launched a national campaign calling for corporations and others to stop financially supporting the organization. Continue Reading →

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Women ADVANCE to take the lead

 

 
A primarily Black Urban Women’s Movement is officially launched
 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Contributing Writer

 

On Saturday, January 21, approximately 200 people — overwhelmingly women, predominantly African American, with a sprinkling of men such as U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison — met for the Urban Women’s Movement kickoff. Leadership in the Twin Cities, even within communities of color, has been predominantly male. The Urban Women’s Movement seeks to change that dynamic. The movement came about after a discussion between the president of the movement, Lissa Jones, host of KMOJ’s “Urban Agenda,” and Trayshana Thomas, co-chair of the event and formerly of Rep. Keith Ellison’s office, about the fact that there are no local or state-level politicians who are addressing issues of urban communities. The mission of the Urban Women’s Movement is to begin engaging women in the political process well before entering a voting booth, “so that we are shaping the ballot rather than responding to it,” Jones said. Continue Reading →

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Marches honored legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The traditional St. Paul MLK Day March began at 10 am in front of Central High School. Congressman Keith Ellison addressed the crowd of about 1,200 prior to the march. March leaders included Governor Mark Dayton, U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, Congresswoman Betty McCollum and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Continue Reading →

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